Saying Goodbye to a Legend
By Laney Owen
Almost 40 years ago, a man with a passion for teaching student athletes how to put one foot in front of the other decided to start coaching cross country and track. Many regional and state titles later, his time coaching has finally come to an end. The legacy he leaves behind, however, will remain for many years to come.
A passionate, funny, driven man– head cross country and track coach Jim Triemplar has this last outdoor season left after serving Atlee for 26 years. The lives of many athletes, staff, and alumni have been touched by Triemplar.
Former track athlete and three-time shot put state champion Austin Cannon graduated from the school in 2015 and attributes much of his success to Triemplar’s coaching.
“I mean, he’s one of the greatest of all time in my opinion. Just his dedication to the sport– it’s the best I’ve ever seen in somebody, player or coach. The impact that he has on these athletes is enormous, and he’s definitely a big part of why I won three state championships and had a very successful throwing career,” Cannon said.
Cannon reflected on the countless memories he has collected from working with Triemplar, including the moment leading up to his outdoor victory in 2015.
“I remember Triemplar telling me, ‘True champions throw their best on the last throw.’ A kid from Hickory in the last round of finals threw a throw that would take the lead. I remember playing that visually over and over before I stepped into the circle. As soon as it left my hand, I knew that I had won. I ran to my dad and hugged him, and I keep on hearing what Triemplar told me to this day. I will never forget that moment. I will remember it for the rest of my life,” Cannon said.
Former track standout and Oregon University alumni Ben DeJarnette agreed that Triemplar has impacted the course of his entire life.
“It’s hard to imagine my life path without him, you know? His coaching put me in a position to come out to Oregon to run track. I got my undergraduate and masters, and now I live and work here in Portland. I’ve got my girlfriend here, too. I wouldn’t have any of this if it weren’t for Triemplar’s coaching,” DeJarnette said.
Although Triemplar is dedicated to the sport, he also makes time to get to know his athletes on a personal level. Senior Casey Hall reflects on how close he has gotten with Triemplar over the five years that he has been running.
“[Triemplar] asks me about once a month how my sister is doing,” Hall said, “and she ran track in eighth grade and then transferred to Maggie Walker. That was about eight years ago that she ran with him. It really impresses me that he genuinely cares about people and wants the best for them.”
Senior Jeffrey Grasberger says that he will miss many things about Triemplar.
“I’ll miss his character the most because just talking to him at practices– he makes it so interesting and he always has these great stories to tell,” Grasberger said.
Along with current and former student athletes, faculty have also recognized how dedicated Triemplar is to the sport, including Director of Student Activities Ryan Molloy.
“You’re talking 26 years of one man taking three programs,” Molloy said, “I mean, you’ve got D1 after D1 athlete who came through Atlee. You’ve got the state championships, the regional championships, both individual and team titles. Words can’t express what Triemplar has meant to the cross country and track programs, as well as Atlee as a whole.”
Triemplar says that there are many reasons that he has fallen in love with the sport.
“I enjoy coaching because I enjoy being around the athletes. I also enjoy the challenge of out-preparing athletes from other schools. I enjoy the relationship with the athletes. There’s a lot of people who mean an awful lot to me,” Triemplar said.
Triemplar has many memories from the past 26 years. One that stands out in particular regards the current assistant coach Scott Crow who used to run on the team.
“Scott’s two-mile regional win was really something,” Triemplar said. “It was one of those moments that a coach never forgets.”
Triemplar says that if he could have one wish, it would be to continue coaching for a long time.
“I want the athletes to know that I care about them,” Triemplar said, “regardless of what some people think.”